Milane

Milane Christiansen was a friend (she had many, many friends) who founded, owned, and ran The Bookworks, a wonderful independent bookstore in Del Mar, California.  I did readings there; they launched my last novel, The Writing Class.  She was an extraordinary person, as the following obituary, reproduced in its entirety, clearly shows.  Everyone who knew Milane will miss her.

 

Milane Christiansen, 70, Independent Bookseller

 
By Kathryn Shevelow

 
Milane Christiansen, the founder and, for thirty years, the proprietor of one of
the country’s great independent bookstores, The Book Works in Del Mar, died in
her home on April 21 at the age of 70. The cause was complications of ALS.

 
Christiansen arrived in San Diego County in the late 1960s. “At that time,” she
said in a 2011 interview, “there didn’t seem to be a lot of literary life going on. So
I decided I would bring it here.” She opened The Book Works in 1976. The store
quickly gained national recognition, drawing large audiences to book signings
by authors such as Oliver Sacks, Gore Vidal, Joyce Carol Oates, T. Coraghessan
Boyle, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Armistead Maupin, Amy Tan, Lily Tomlin,
Simon Winchester, and Paul Krugman, as well as local luminaries including
Manny Farber, William Murray, and Francis Crick. Chef-author appearances
were perennially popular: Alice Waters, Jacques Pepin, David Tanis, and Julia
Child came to sign their new cookbooks; Child’s last book signing before her
death was at The Book Works.
Alongside its stock of literature, art books, and cookery, The Book Works carried
the latest works on India, one of Christiansen’s lifelong interests. Born in Los
Angeles, she spent most of her childhood in rural Minnesota and Minneapolis.
After graduating from college, she joined the Peace Corps in 1965, two years after
its establishment, and at age twenty-two was sent to India. She spent two years
in Gujarat, where, on her own initiative, she moved into a house by herself in a
remote village, and set up a health care clinic to serve the poor. During her time
there, Christiansen developed the deep love of the Indian people and culture that
remained with her the rest of her life. “India gave me so much more than I could
ever have given it,” she would say. She subsequently returned to India several
times.
Christiansen brought to her store her distinctive style, installing an old wood
plank floor on which she arranged oak tables, chairs, and her grandmother’s
upright piano; at the back was a carpeted children’s “pit”; mid-century paintings
decorated the walls; from the ceiling hung an antique carousel horse. She had an
extraordinarily fine eye, finding old and new trends in jewelry, ceramics, and
textiles. Artifacts such as Bauer pottery, mid-century paintings, old Buddhas,
vintage jewelry, and garden statuary set off her diverse and thoughtfully-chosen
selection of books, journals, and unique greeting cards. The store’s book bag
bore an inscription from Cicero: “If you have a garden and a library, you have
everything you need.”
For greater San Diego, The Book Works was much more than a store: it was a
resource and a treasure; a unique, warm space to gather; and an education.
Christiansen believed it to be her responsibility as a bookstore owner to support
serious writers both established and new, and to expand readers’ literary
horizons. Many of her loyal customers regularly stopped by to ask, “Milane,
what should I read?” She always prepared herself to have good answers to that
question. The Book Works sponsored not only readings and lectures, but also
jazz recitals, book discussion groups, and writing workshops. Most of all, it was
a place to browse and linger — a community. One of her former employees,
Adele Irwin, recalls, “I had customers bring their kids in and watch them play
and browse in the store just as they had as a child.” There were also several
bookstore romances, Irwin says, “with two marriages that I know of!”
After selling The Book Works in 2006, Christiansen also worked at Amba in
Solana Beach, a gallery and boutique that sells and promotes the arts and textiles
of India and directly supports their craftsmen. In 2011, she co-founded, with
Nina MacConnel, a series called “Good Earth/Great Chefs,” which hosted wellknown
chef-authors at the Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe for “pleine air” book
signings and food tastings. This series, which will continue, has proved
enormously popular: famous chefs such as Nancy Silverton, Alice Waters, and
Jonathan Waxman have sold an unprecedented amount of books at each of these
events.
All those who were in contact with Christiansen during her illness were struck
by the great courage and strength she showed as her disease progressed. Many
younger people to whom she had been a friend and mentor over several decades
wrote with deep feeling to express the profound impact she had had on their
lives. She never lost her sense of humor, her pleasure in the company of her
friends and her beloved cat Kālī, and her love of relaxing in her garden with a
well-made gin and tonic.
A memorial service for Milane Christiansen will be held at the San Diego
Botanical Gardens in Encinitas on Tuesday, May 21 from 5:30 — 7:30 p.m. A
scholarship at UCSD has been established to commemorate her love of literature:
to donate, please search for the “Milane Christiansen Fund” (or #3872) at
http://www-er.ucsd.edu/givetoucsd/

I Don’t Trash My Own Life

…is a story of mine that appears today (12/9/10) on Metazen.

The Wonders of Customer Specific Marketing

 

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen (New Directions Book)   by Wilfred Owen or other books in the Authors (feature four browse-bin>Owen, Wilfred category, you might like to know that Toll Roads and the Problem of Highway Modernization is now available.   You can order yours for just $20.00 by following the link below.

Toll Roads and the Problem of Highway Modernization, by Wilfred Owen

Price $20.00

   

Product Description
Publisher: Washington, Brookings Institution Publication date: 1951 Subjects: Toll roads — United States Notes: This is an OCR reprint. There may be numerous typos or missing text. There are no illustrations or indexes. When you buy the General Books edition of this book you get free trial access to Million-Books.com where you can select from more than a million books for free. You can also preview the book there.

 More to Explore

  1. More New Releases
  2. Top Sellers
  3. Recommended for You

Sincerely,

Amazon.com

Guter kummer!

german-cover-twc0007-compressed